Federer continues hot streak as London cast decided


PARIS: Roger Federer continued his current hot streak as the Swiss claimed a place in the quarter-finals of the Paris Masters as the final lineup for the eight-man year-end championships in London was settled Thursday.
The top seed, who is bidding for a third consecutive trophy after winning Stockholm and Basel, dispatched Radek Stepanek 6-4, 6-3, firing 11 aces, saving two break points and winning his tenth match from 12 against the Czech.
The win was a re-run of a victory last week in Switzerland and marked the 11th straight post-US Open success for the world number two. Federer has never been past the quarter-finals at the event but is feeling particularly at home on the ultra-fast court.
Andy Murray needed a recovery in the first set from deficits both in the set and the tiebreak to subdue Croatian 13th seed Marin Cilic 7-6 98/6), 3-6, 6-4 in a battle of 25 aces lasting over more than two hours.
Earlier, the last three pieces of the qualifying jigsaw puzzle for the World Tour Finals fell into place as a victory for Gael Monfils determined the London line-up.
The 12th-seeded Monfils, a losing finalist to Djokovic here a year ago, produced a spectacular 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 win over Fernando Verdasco that ended the Spaniard’s hopes of making the eight-man roster. The third-round victory by Monfils means Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych, Spain’s David Ferrer and American Andy Roddick will complete the field for the season-ending event that starts a week on Sunday.
Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Djokovic, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling had already secured their places at the event at London’s O2 Arena. Eighth seed Roddick defeated Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 6-3, 7-6 (10/8) to knock Jurgen Melzer out of the race for the season finale.
Fourth seed Soderling beat Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka 7-6 (7/3), 6-3. Russian Nikolay Davydenko sent out Berdych
4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-0. It fell to Monfils to play the qualifying puppeteer for the London season finale in front of a
sold-out 14,000 capacity Bercy arena, as the popular home player rode a roller-coaster against Verdasco.
Twice the Spaniard failed to convert match points, allowing Monfils to secure a key break to put him 6-5 up in the final set. Monfils secured the decisive break when Verdasco produced his ninth double-fault of the afternoon and then ploughed a forehand volley into the net to hand the Frenchman the momentum.
A game later, Monfils was celebrating along with the fans as he moved into the quarter-finals.